Pickles, and pickle flavor are both being used in the food industry today. There are a big range of varieties with dill flavoring but they mostly hover around the savory flavor profile. Between 2011 and 2013, the use of dill pickle flavor increased by 72%, and continued to increase through 2016. Starting with pickle flavoring, more specifically dill, there are many new product developments all around the world. Dill flavoring has been applied to chips like sour cream and dill flavored, dill pickle kettle chips, or, in entrees like fish with cream sauce and dill.
Along with Dill flavoring, pickles themselves have seen a big increase in popularity. They have a presence in the restaurant industry in the form of in-house made artisanal types. Chefs like to use them as taste enhancers, and certain varieties like garlic, ginger, and olive have been known to have health benefits. Following in line with the other food trends like health concerns, consumers increasingly prefer pickles with low salt content and non-GMO and organic ingredients. Globally, though cucumber pickles are still the most popular variety.
While pickles have been in the spotlight this past year, olives heavy been an increasing trend for the last 25 years. Between 1990 and 2015, the world table olive consumption has nearly tripled with 70% increase in just the European Union. In Egypt alone, consumption in the last 25 years has increased from 11,000 tons to 360,000 tons in 2016. Olives belong to the “drupes” food group, which contain fruits with pits like cherries, peaches, nectarines, etc. They come in a few different colors; light green, dark green, purple, and black. When olives are picked from trees they are usually very bitter and require a curing treatment (also referred to as “pickling”) to achieve desired taste traits. There are three common curing methods for olives water curing, brine curing, and lye curing. Olives also provide a myriad of health benefits. The fat found in olives has been linked to reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and decreasing blood pressure. Along with the benefits for the heart, olives have also been found to contain phytonutrients that help protect from cancer and bone loss. The anti-cancer and anti-bone loss compounds found in olives occur naturally and increase their concentration in the body. Olives also have many different antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components. They are a high source of copper, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamin E. These can be beneficial for increased testosterone synthesis, increased insulin sensitivity, liver protection, and nutrients for the eyes, as well as some anti-aging properties. On a side note, with the rise in popularity of olives the use of olive oil in cooking has risen as well. People have been using olive oil to cook, but it is actually better to use olive oil raw. It is very sensitive to heat due to its high fat content loses a lot of its nutritional value when cooked.
Brine has seen a huge bump in popularity as it was a major food trend for 2016. Brine is no longer just for pickles; asparagus, carrots, green beans, and okra are all getting “pickled”. Brine is used as a preservative for veggies, fish, fruit, and meat. It has a high salt content that prevents bacteria from growing and helps preserve food. When food is fermented, the sugar and carbohydrates are broken down by healthy bacteria. This results in a pungent burst of flavor and eating fermented foods hugely benefits your stomach due to the healthy bacteria. According to Mintel, 61% of British people eat pickled veggies or eggs. With even more products like mushrooms, carrots, tuna, and sausage brined in different variations there is clearly a lot of potential for more products and a wider range of consumers.